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Turn your city break into a microadventure 

Paris: Wild camping in the Forest of Fontainebleau 


A weekend in Paris is a wonderful thing.  But you can throw a bit of surprise and adventure into your time in the iconic, recognisable city scenes by jumping on a train (40 minutes from Gare de Lyon) out to spend a night in a bivvy in the beautiful Forest of Fontainebleau. The forest's oak, pine and beech trees spread for more than 100 square miles. 
There is also great scope for bouldering if you enjoy that, with huge numbers of climbs available on the unusual rock formations dotted throughout Fontainebleau.  There are so many climbs that it can be a little overwhelming. Just pick one spot and enjoy it! There are guidebooks for climbing in the forest if you are keen to do more than dabble. Bas Cuvier and Apremont are both popular. 

Level of Difficulty: Medium (if you're going to bivvy).  

What to pack: Warm clothes (check the weather forecast!), woolly hat, headtorch, raingear, sleeping bag, mat and bivvy bag. 

Best time to go: late spring or early summer.

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There really is nowhere quite like Paris. New York may have the buzz and London may have the nightlife, but Paris has the romance, the architecture and the food.  The ‘City of Light’ has long been the preferred city break destination for doe-eyed couples who come for the unrivalled architecture, the quality of its restaurants and romantic night cruises down the River Seine.

 

But there is more to Paris than just the language of love. This place is also the capital of fashion, haute cuisine and is one of the most culturally rich cities in the world. Paris is full of galleries dripping with artistic masterpieces and streets filled with some of the most iconic buildings in the world. Anyone fancy a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower, or a walk along the Champs Elysées with its endless array of designer stores?

 
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Sightseeing


The 'Hodler Monet Munch' exhibition at the Musée Marmottan explores the struggles faced by these artists to capture the effects of nature in their work. Having appreciated the freshly-fallen snow, hazy sunbeams and leaves dancing in the wind up close, we'd argue that the masters succeeded in their mission to paint the impossible. Until 22 January 2017, www.marmottan.fr.


Disney fans will adore The Art of Walt Disney Animation Studios


You have until 23 January 2017 to catch 'René Magritte: La Trahison des Images' at the Centre Pompidou. The exhibition is said to explore common motifs from the Belgian artist's work such as fire, shadows, curtains, words and the fragmented body. centrepompidou.fr.


You have until 25 September to catch Josef Sudek Le Monde à ma fenêtre (The Intimate World of Josef Sudek) at the Jeu de Paume. The exhibition features 130 works spanning the Czech photographer's career; highlights include the photographs resulting from Sudek's meanders through Prague. This exhibition is a fascinating insight into his personal relationship with the surrounding world. www.jeudepaume.org


The Picasso. Sculptures exhibition features the largest collection of the artist's sculpted work since the Picasso Sculpteur exhibition at the Pompidou Centre back in 2000. While you're there, you also have the chance to see rare collections such as the complete Verre d'Absinthe (Glass of Absinthe) series. Until 28 August, museepicassoparis.fr


From 20-23 July Paris will be dancing to the beat of the Festival Fnac Live. Thirty free concerts will take place in front of the Hôtel de Ville, with Lianne La Havas and Hyphen Hyphen among the lineup. For more information visit fnac.com/fnaclive.

Key Areas


Located on the oh-so-chic rue Amélie, Mayaro is a luxury men's concept store, an art gallery and a celebration of local design and gastronomy. A team of top-notch artisans and craftsmen come together here, lovingly creating a whole host of beautiful things you never knew you needed. Meteorite-inspired cuff links, anyone? 20 rue Amélie, 75007; mayaro.fr .


No window shopping jaunt in the Marais neighbourhood would be complete without a trip to chic home and design store Fleux. Featuring hand-picked designers such as Ferm Living, this place's striking prints and minimal mood lighting will have you mentally redecorating in seconds. 52 rue Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie 75004, fleux.com.


Whether you want to keep the kids occupied, or you're looking to bring them back a present, children's concept store Maison DoDuDinDon has the answer. This cute store stocks French designers such as Bbamie Création, Pöm and Trois Fois Rien. 3 rue Alexandre Parodi 75010, dodudindon.com.


Pop Market, a concept store with fifties-inspired decor, is your one stop destination for kitsch gifts and things you never knew you needed. It's almost impossible not to be tempted by the impressive product range, from piña colada lamps to dainty jewellery by local designers. www.popmarket.fr


Oh My Cream!, a concept store boasting the crème de la crème of cult beauty products, is a must visit for beauty buffs. Make an appointment for a free skin diagnosis before browsing the lovingly selected beauty and skincare treasures (from both French and international brands). 3 rue de Tournon, 75006.


Bric-a-brac chic is making a comeback on the Parisian shopping scene, thanks to a host of hip boutiques like Bazartherapy. Located on rue Beaurepaire, this hoarder's paradise is chock-a-block with kitsch knickknacks and offbeat gifts priced from just €2. You can also pick up weird and wonderful creations by up-and-coming designers, from geometric coffee tables to camel-shaped teapots. 15 rue Beaurepaire, 75010, bazartherapy.com.

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